It was 1987. A gallon of gas cost you $0.89 and The Simpsons aired for the first time. That fall, it was also the first and only time a Pope has ever visited Arizona.
John Paul II arrived in Phoenix on the morning of September, 14, 1987. His flight, incoming from San Antonio Texas, landed at Sky Harbor International Airport. Pope John Paul made his way to the pediatric ward at St. Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center where over 5,000 Phoenicians looked on. After visiting with sick children the Pope held a prayer mass at St. Mary's Basilica in the heart of Phoenix, held a Catholic Health Association meeting, and spoke to local clergy from the Diocese of Phoenix.
By early evening, John Paul made a stop at the Tekakwitha Conference where he addressed 16,000 Native Americans. His final destination? Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium where he help evening mass at 6:30 p.m. for over 75,000 people. Sparky and his likeness around the stadium (ASU's "Sun Devil" mascot) had to be covered in the presence of the Pope. The University allegedly charged $198,998.43 for the venue. Following the massive Mass and a fireworks show, Pope John Paul the II spent one night in the Valley of the Sun at Bishop Thomas J. O'brien's home.
He left for Los Angeles the following morning.
More information about John Paul II:
·Pope John Paul II was born in Poland. He served as Pope from 1978 to 2005. He has since been declared a Saint and is referred to by Roman Catholics as Pope Saint John Paul II or Saint John Paul the Great.
·He helped end Communist rule in his home country of Poland, something that impacted the rest of Europe.
·He is known for significantly improving relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.
·In his years as Pope, he is believed to have visited 129 countries
·Pope John Paul II is the second longest serving pope in modern history, behind Pope Pius IX, who served from 1846 to 1878
·He was the first non-Italian pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523.
·One of his first official visits was to Mexico in 1979.